A Dog, A Parachute and a Kick in the Butt

Betty Feng and her dog Bing once he retired

Betty Feng and her dog Bing once he retired

In my last post, I talk about dogs that parachuted into war. Bing was a dog that was given to the army by 6 year old Betty Fetch and her family. They could no longer afford to keep him because of food rationing. He was trained with other dogs and on one of his early missions over Normandy on June 6th, 1944 heavy anti-aircraft rained on the plane. Bing became was so afraid of jumping out of the plane on that they pushed him out with an encouraging boot.

Upon parachuting out of the plane, he landed in a tree, had to be cut down and was later wounded in action. He recovered and went on to have many missions and save many people.
He saved countless Allied lives. During a second jump into Germany, Bing was sent on a dangerous mission to look in a house. As he approached the house, he realized that there were enemy troops and sounded the alarm. His human teammates surrounded the house, took the Nazis prisoner and Bing became a hero. He received the highest military honor an animal can win in the UK for his bravery. After his death in 1955, he was buried in a special cemetery in London. If you visit Duxford, you can see a life-size statue of Bing, complete with a parachute.

How does this dog’s story relate to us today?

We each have unlimited potential. Some of us need a good kick in the butt to get us going, but once we choose to believe in ourselves we can do great things! We are trained to do great things, but when the time comes, we cower in the corner. We forget how great we are. I am thankful to the people in my life that push me to be more. The world is waiting on your greatness. Bing was just a dog that someone had to surrender because they could not feed him. No matter what your past story was, your future can be great. Live it! Be brave! If you are a leader, encourage those around you to live to their potential. If you are growing into a leader, listen to what those around you are saying. Understand that they are pushing you for a greater purpose!!

There is a great page with photos of these dogs here: parachuting dog photos

Personal Responsibility

200171399-001Well, I am ashamed to say that life has gotten the best of me.  I have not posted to this blog since October.  That is not necessarily a bad thing.  Lots of good things have been happening, I just haven’t taken the time to write them here.  But today I came across something so good that I felt I had to share.  It was on personal responsibility.

Kody Bateman, the president of Send Out Cards wrote a great blog. Personal Responsibility, it spoke to me.  So many times in life we blame others when things don’t go our way.  Surely we could not be responsible for doing something stupid.  But so many times we are, aren’t we?  Great leaders don’t blame others for life’s dissapointments.  They take them as they come and learn from them.

 

Trusting Your Leader

I was leaving the church parking lot and it was raining.  In front of me was a car headed towards me and a man in wheelchair (with a parka).  There was not enough room for all three of us go at the same time.  There was also a car behind me.  As I sat waiting for the man in the wheelchair to cross the street, the car behind me jutted out, as if to pass me.  At that point, he saw the situation as it was.   He was now in incoming traffic and he could see I was waiting for a man in a wheelchair to pass.  He quickly ducked back into place.

Leaders can sometimes be impatient.  I think it is just our nature.  We want action and we want it now!!  Good leadership is not always about leading though.  A lot of times it is about following.

A Better View

The car behind me did not have the same view I had.  I was leading him in the correct manner but he did not know me well enough to trust that I was doing what was best.  As a leader, we must garner the trust of those around us.As a follower,we must trust those that have a better view.

Trust Your Leader

Ernest Hemingway wrote “the best way to find out if you can trust someone is to trust them.”

Many people with “type-A” personalities struggle with trust.    It is not as hard as it seems.  I am not saying that you should sign over your “baby” to someone you just met, instead work through the process.   Let them hold your “baby”, then maybe next time they can hold him a little longer while you walk away for a few minutes.   Trust is a muscle that must be built in every organization for it to thrive.

Stagnant Leadership

 

Share what you know

If you spend much time around children, you have probably heard the phrase, “they are like a sponge.”  It is an American statement that means children willingly accept and soak up whatever is around them.  Typically, it is a positive statement and refers to learning. As adults, hopefully we continue on that trend and remain sponges throughout our life, but we have to make sure that there is a direct correlation between what goes in and what comes out.  Have you ever used a sponge in the kitchen and forgot to wring it out?  A sponge can become saturated and if it sits, it will sour.

As leaders we have to make sure we are constantly learning and sharing.  We can become caught up in the fact that we are not confident enough or competent enough to share what we know so we sit and soak.  The longer we sit, the more we soak.  Eventually, we will sour.

As you learn things, share it with others.  Try it out, talk about it.  You might get questions but that should fuel you to learn more!

Never become stagnant.  If you do, you will no longer be leading.  As Baudjuin said,

“No matter how hard you work for success if your thought is saturated with the fear of failure, it will kill your efforts, neutralize your endeavors and make success impossible.”

Living the Dream

Live your Dreams

Every successful person is someone who has failed

but has not regarded himself as a failure. John Maxwell

Another four years have passed and I find myself again staying up much later than normal, glued to my television, hoping that people I do not know will achieve their ultimate goal and receive a medal.  What makes us love the Olympics?  There are multiple things that drive one to watch, but mostly, I believe that we see a little of ourselves in each of them.  I could never fly through the air like Gabby Douglas or swim like Michael Phelps but there is something intriguing about them.  They are wholly dedicated to their sport.  They are driven, determined and passionate.

When you have a dream, you must follow it.  I remember almost 12 years ago, when my husband came to me and said he had a dream.  He wanted to build a MLM software company that would be reliable and a good value.  It took quite a bit of time and convincing on his part to win me over.  Ultimately, it came down to believing in his dream.  I am a realist and I knew that failure was a huge possibility.  I had a new baby, was not bringing in a salary and we had limited savings.   But when someone you love has a dream, you must support that dream.  I knew that if I said no, I was limiting his future and I could not live with that.

Twelve years later, I can look back and say, “Whew!  Good choice!”  But a dream does not come without failure.  We have done so many things wrong.  Thankfully, we have had some great teammates who have stuck with us as we have waded our way to success.  Many families of Olympic athletes make hard choices to support their child’s dream; they allow them to move away to train with a coach or they settle for a smaller home to pay the bills.

We all fail.  The important part comes after the failure.  Do we take a breather and hop back up on the balance beam?  I certainly hope so!  Those are the ones the world is cheering for!!

Moments of Greatness

George W Bush (courtesy of Mike Magolnick)

Have you ever spoken to someone, or heard a speaker and just been enamored by what they had to say? You wished they would just keep talking? At the recent DSA Annual meeting I had that happen twice.

I love older people. My grandparents were very special to me and I loved to sit and listen to their stories. It seems as people get older, they just tell it how it is, they don’t care about your opinions or what is politically correct. It is about how they see the world. My grandfather had dementia and got to the point where all he talked about were “the old times.” He would tell me stories of his travels and adventures. I loved those times, even when he could not remember my name.

At the DSA annual meeting this year we had the privilege of listening to two great men, George W Bush and Rich Devos Sr. Mr. Bush was our 43rd President and Rich Devos Sr. founded Amway along with Jay Van Andel. These men both spoke so candidly and conversationally, it was hard not to just want to give them a big hug. (Secret Service would have none of that!!). No matter what your personal thoughts are about politics or business, both of these men care deeply about America and about empowering small business. It was easy to be drawn into their thought processes. They believe in what I call “the real America.” They care about empowering individuals to create small businesses.

Rich Devos said, if we have only built a company for us and for the money, we have done the wrong thing. He went on to talk about empowering and helping people experience Freedom.

Former President Bush said, “Culture cannot be created around individuals; it has to be created around principles.” He also said, “You don’t know who you’re going to influence, so make your decisions wisely.” He pointed out that if he had planned to be President, he sure would have behaved better in college!

Each of us are given time here on this Earth to create a life for ourselves. Once we become of age, we can choose our path. We can use what is given to us and learn. It is our honor to listen to those wiser than us. It is our duty to pass on the knowledge and experiences we have to others.

Each of us has a job to do and I am afraid that many of us underestimate the importance of our daily jobs. Whatever your job, you can be assured that your attitude and your knowledge can change a person’s day and outlook.

You are influencing someone today, make the right choice.

Is Potential a Bad Word?

Have you ever been told you have potential?  It is a good thing, but growing up, I found it infuriating.  Let’s look at the definition of potential from Dictionary.com.

po-ten-tial

 adjective

1. possible, as opposed to actual

2. capable of being or becoming

noun

5. possibility; potentiality

6. a latent excellence or ability that may or may not be developed.

If you look at the first definition, you see that potential is possible not actual.  When I was a junior in high school, I tried out for the high school tennis team.  Having only played recreationally, I showed a lot of potential.  I was fine with that for a little while, but found myself becoming more and more frustrated.  I was getting better, but not as fast as I would like.  Potential to me was failure, not mastery.  My senior year (my second year of playing competitively) I was the #1 seed at our school.  I should have been thrilled with that!  But for some reason, I wasn’t.  After high school, I walked away from the sport for many years. I just felt I was not reaching my full potential.

It is really quite a sad story.  Potential is a variable, it can grow, stay stagnant or decrease, but if you have it, it is a great gift.  Some of us (me) are quite hard on ourselves when we cannot do things with excellence quickly.  We fail to recognize that excellence is a journey.  As you seek to develop your potential, don’t be so busy looking forward that you fail to look back and applaud all you have become.

 The true gift of potential is developing it.  Go for it!!

5 Ways to Know It is Time to Quit

As I was thinking about this post, “The Gambler” by Kenny Rogers kept running through my mind.  It’s an oldie but goodie, and I am probably giving away a little too much about my age and background by sharing it!  (my sons would be sooo embarrassed!!).  The Gambler, Kenny Rogers

Here at ByDesign Technologies (www.bydesign.com) we deal with all kinds of companies; mlm, party plan and direct sales.  Some are billion dollar companies while others are start-ups.  We have had the great pleasure of watching companies grow from absolutely nothing to huge successes and unfortunately we have also seen many crash and burn.  If things are not looking positive, how do you determine if you are in an uncomfortable learning or growth curve or if you are in a tailspin you won’t recover from?

Is there ever a time to throw in the towel?  Here are five ways to know it is time:

1) Have you invested more than you think you can possibly recover?

2) Are you no longer passionate?

3) Are working outside of your strengths?

4) Are you holding on so that you do not have to admit failure?

5) Have you tried everything you know to do and it is still not working?

 Deciding to quit  is never easy.  Some quit when the ovation is the loudest.  Others persevere to hear another!  The best advice I can offer is to seek wise counsel.  Ask someone who has gone through a similar situation and be honest with yourself.

Some trials we must walk through.  Some we are not allowed to quit on, like illness or the death of a family member. (though we would all like to opt out of those!!)   Others trials, like a job, a business, or a relationship give us a choice in our actions and reactions.  If you decide things are not going to work out, handle it with grace.  Give the decision a lot of thought and be completely at peace with the situation once the final decision is made.

Deciding to quit anything you have invested yourself (or your money) in is difficult but recognizing that quitting does not equate to failure is a great gift to yourself.

You can believe like Homer Simpson, “Trying is the first step towards failure,”  or Mike Dennison, “It is better to have tried and failed than to have failed to try.”

 Give me your thoughts.  How do you know when it is time to quit?

The No Complaint Generation

Yesterday, on the local news, I saw a story about the Honor Flight Network.  I had never heard of this non-profit before but they provide free trips for veterans to  visit Washington DC war memorials.  It is planned as a one day trip with the veteran and a guardian.   What a great gift!

A local group of WWII veterans was on the trip and as they were getting ready to take off and head home, their plane was grounded.  This forced all of them to stay the night in local hotels without a change of clothes or toothbrushes.  Many of these veterans were in wheelchairs and on oxygen. There was plenty for this group to complain about but one of the Dr.’s on the trip called this group, the “No Complaint Generation.”  What a great example these leaders set for the rest of us.

These veterans have set a great example of leadership not only in their service to our country but also in their behavior.  Great leaders don’t complain if things go wrong, they accept it as it is and make the best of it.  What a great gift they give us by their example.

You can watch the story here:Stranded vets make it home

 

 

 

 

 

 

Are You a B.S.er?

“If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough” Albert Einstein

I love quotes! So much knowledge can be garnered from listening to what people say. I recently stumbled upon this quote by Albert Einstein. I would have loved a chance to sit in a room with this man.

I am a “down to basics, bottom line” kind of girl. I don’t need flowery language, (commonly known in America as bs!). Just tell me what I need to know. When I discuss things with people, I push them for simple explanations. I know many times, they believe I am stupid or don’t understand (sometimes they actually say the same thing slower!!) but as a leader my goal is to make sure they understand what they are talking about.

To be a good leader, you have to make sure people know why they are doing things. If they know why, they are easily able to explain their opinions and tasks. If they don’t, they can’t.

What do you think? Is there a time for flowery language? Marketing? Meeting with clients? Or should we always be as direct as possible?